BOSTON — Nick Foligno is playing motivated and like he has a chip on his shoulder.
After all, the Boston Bruins forward had just two goals and 11 assists last year in his first season with the club. Foligno didn’t make the best first impression on the score sheet, but often was lauded for the leadership he brought.
Fast forward to 2022-23, Foligno looks like a totally different player.
The forward scored a goal in the Bruins’ 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. He now has three goals on the season, one more than last year, and is contributing at a fast pace and all over the ice. Foligno discussed in the preseason that while it didn’t feel to get waived, he still was going to do whatever he could to help the Bruins.
The veteran never saw time in the AHL after clearing waivers, and he’s become quite the asset for Boston through its first six games.
So, what changed?
“I think just a reset in the summer, right? I got to train the way I needed to train and you come in and you’re excited, you’re motivated to prove to yourself and everyone that this is the player I am and excited to be,” Foligno said after the win. “It’s six games in, I’m not gonna get too excited about anything, just continue to do what I do and come here, be in the moment and be excited about what we’re trying to build here as a group. Like I told you guys before I love being a Bruin, I love playing with this group. So it drives me every day to try and bring my best.
“… Last year was the way it was. I’ve moved past that and I’m looking forward to being that player for this team and this organization and I’m really enjoying playing with these guys.”
Foligno, who served as the captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets for six seasons, certainly could help the bottom six create an identity and be the leader for the youngsters (and even vets) on the third and fourth lines.
There’s no way to tell if Foligno will keep up this kind of consistency, but it’s a positive turnaround from last year, to say the least. He has the potential to be an X-factor for the Bruins this season and if he truly can help the B’s create that bottom-six identity, this team only will get better.